P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2004
July 28, 2004
Alloy Orchestra Returns to MASS MoCA to Accompany Buster Keaton Classic with Live Music
(North Adams, Mass.) It’s “man against machine” in Buster Keaton’s astounding 1926 film, The General, playing outdoors under the stars on the Berkshires’ largest screen at MASS MoCA on Saturday, August 28 at 8:30 P.M. To provide a soundtrack to this silent classic, the always-inventive Alloy Orchestra returns accompanying the film with an assortment of what some would consider backyard junk -- horseshoes, truck springs, radiator pipes, sheet metal, and vacuum cleaner canisters – and adding lively percussion and a magical musical backdrop to one of the best films of the silent era.
The film is based on a real incident during the American Civil War when a posse of northern soldiers hijacked a confederate train and a lone southern engineer found himself fighting the lot of them alone. Keaton plays the engineer and whose girlfriend happens to be on the train. Keaton has wild and wacky adventures as he attempts to rescue the damsel in distress and the runaway locomotive simultaneously. The plot is built around the rail chase, a source of exceptional physical comedy for Keaton.
According to London’s Guardian, “It's the brilliance of the gags that make Keaton unique. Behind the blank eyes and frozen face, which never smiles, there was this ticking mechanism of a brain that could, in one stroke, make you laugh like a drain. He could also achieve acrobatics a circus performer would envy, skills gleaned from his time in vaudeville as a youth when his father held his ankles and swept the stage with his hair.”
Unlike Chaplin's, Keaton's films were outdoor movies, giving him the space to work and often vast panoramas to contrast with his moving body. He was the little man juxtaposed against a huge uni-verse, and he did all his stunts himself -- in this film playing against not just a train but the entire union and confederate armies.
Alloy Orchestra is a three-man musical group, writing and performing live accompaniment to clas-sic silent films, with Terry Donahue playing percussion, accordion, and vocals; Ken Winokur on percussion and clarinet; and Roger C. Miller on synthesizer. An unusual combination of found per-cussion and state-of-the-art electronics gives the Orchestra the ability to create any sound imag-inable.
Lickety Split will be open to serve full dinners and snacks starting at 7:30 P.M. when the doors open. There will also be a full bar. In case of rain the film will move indoors where the Hunter Center will have been transformed into a full movie palace.
Tickets to The General with Alloy Orchestra are $13 in advance, $16 the day of the show, and $6 for kids. MASS MoCA members get 10% off. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located on Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or online at www.massmoca.org at any time of day.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release